THE Cleveland Cavaliers have found a new ally for the next NBA season in Akron-based tire manufacturer Goodyear.
The reigning NBA champions announced on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time) the team’s multiyear corporate partnership deal that will have the tire-giant’s wingfoot logo on the upper left corner of the Cavs players’ jerseys.
Goodyear makes a perfect fit with the Cavaliers, especially since the company is founded and headquartered in the same town superstar LeBron James was born and currently resides. Terms of the deal, however, were not disclosed.
Cleveland, though, is not the first team to tie up with a corporate sponsor since the NBA approved teams signing with companies to place their 2.5-by-2.5-inch logos on the players’ jerseys. Other clubs with signed deals are the Philadelphia 76ers (StubHub), Boston Celtics (GE), Utah Jazz (Qualtrics), Sacramento Kings (Blue Diamond) and Brooklyn Nets (Infor).
The Cavs and Goodyear also announced a $1 million donation to Cleveland and Akron public schools.
James welcomed the partnership but his Cavs teammate Iman Shumpert was initially lukewarm about having corporate logos on jerseys, a concept relatively new to US sports but have been practiced by European football clubs for years.
"Every Akron kid grew up seeing the Wingfoot in the sky on the blimp and feeling pride in our community. There is something special for me personally having that logo on the Cavs uniform," said James in a statement, as a Goodyear blimp circled above Quicken Loans Arena during the news conference.
"I think initially [it was hard to accept] just because growing up you're so used to seeing just the classic jersey. At first I wasn't taking to it or positive about it. I didn't like it. But seeing how they're doing it, understanding why they're doing it and me, I kind of got the best of both words -- I got to play in a jersey without it and I guess I'll be one of the first ones to play with it," added Shumpert.